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Why Use British Whites
Rolling Hills Traeger Ranch British Whites
British White Society Standards
FAQ's about British Whites
True Stories about our British Whites
BWCAA - www.britishwhite.org
Photo Gallery - www.britishwhitecattlebreeders.com/slideshow/rollinghills/index.html
The British White Breed
Some authors suggest British White Cattle were brought to the United Kingdom by the Romans about 55 B.C.There is further evidence that British White Cattle were in the United Kingdom in pre-Roman times; perhaps as early as 4000 B.C.
One of the oldest herds of British White Cattle was the Sommerford herd. It was owned by Sir Walter Shakerly in Cheshire and established in 1725. It was dispersed in 1925 only five years after the breeds first herd book was published, but never the less, Somerford Bulls or their Sons were used in all except two of the herds listed in the first volumes of the book and featured very widely in the Woodbastwick and Fugate herds. The Woodbastwick herd owned by John Cator is now the oldest British White Cattle herd.In 1940, the British Government ordered the shipment of a group of these cattle to America to safeguard a precious national heritage if the United Kingdom was invaded. This was the only breed to be safe guarded in this manner. Many public building and historical points of interest are maintained and supported by government finances. Is there any reason that equal recognition should not be given to a breed of cattle, such as the British White?
WHY USE BRITISH WHITES?
The value of British White Bulls as sires of beef cattle, are worthy of note by livestock farmers. This provides the strongest Commercial reason for use of British White Bulls on commercial cows; cows will calve easier, calves have higher feed conversion and efficiency and leaner carcasses as now demanded by the American housewife. In his book, THE ANCIENT WHITE CATTLE OF BRITAIN, G. Kenneth Whitehead states that the carcasses were described in 1790 by Thomas Bewick as; "They have little or no Fat within, but it is interlarded with the flesh".
Does this sound like what we are trying to do today? Raise cattle with no more than 1/4" backfat but still have marbling. This breed was doing it over 200 years ago, British White Cattle hold their own against all other British breeds.
Large breeds may have higher daily gains and weaning weights, but in some cases the disadvantages are more drastic. They may be too big to fit THE BOX if fed to weights to grade. The benefits of speedy growth is of no value unless a live calf is reared. Difficult calving has a marked influence on calf mortality and fertility. This problem is noted in several large breeds. The higher growth rate of crossbred calves sired by large bulls can be more than canceled out by the superior survival rate and lower maintenance requirements of the British White calf.
The breed of the dam also affects the incidence of hard calving. The crucial fact is the relationship of pelvic size and body size. One critical factor is stump rear legs or straight hocks. Straight hocks in any cow of any breed tend to be accompanied by a square level rump with a pelvic opening of reduced size. A cow with a sloping pelvic girdle and low pin bones is less likely to experience calving problems.
There is considerable circumstantial evidence to credits of the British White Cattle with resistance to certain diseases. British White Bulls on test in England showed resistance and were free from pneumonia. Use British White Bulls and breed more disease resistance into your calves. British White Cattle adjust very well to different and extreme climates.
When Bull Testing Stations were first introduced, bulls were first ranked according to their daily weight gains while on test. In its self this was an inefficient method of evaluation. It took little account of compensatory growth(an unexpected spurt of growth in an animal which has been gaining weight slowly). Even more seriously, it gave no consideration to the efficiency of feed conversion or production of lean meat. The obsession with growth rate resulted in various undesirable side effects which the most important are; increases of the coincidence of calving difficulties and much higher calf mortality. Defects accompany the use of breeds which are becoming popular with the publicity given to higher growth and gain rates. Comparative trials carried out by New Zealand Department of Lands and Survey confirm that had this not been used as the basis of selection these problems could have been solved.
The 400 day weight of British White Bulls is 52.3 % of mature weight, in some other breeds this is more like 50.0 %. This is a positive indication of efficiency.
British Whites have a breed average of grading choice/prime 92 % of the time, and with typical yield grades 0-2.
In my experience, we have had feeders grading Choice/ Prime above the breed average every year. We have had carcass' dressing up around 72% of the live weight. Most are in the upper 60's. In our cross bred cattle we have seen the best of what British Whites have to offer, and we feel it's profit for you to experience too!
Rolling Hills Traeger Ranch British Whites
Not sure what to look for when looking at beef cattle?
Consider these things:
Are you buying sight- unseen? or from photos only?
This is a more and more common practice. We personally frown on the practice, however we have made photo purchases with varying results.
Are you buying based on pedigree or DNA scores alone?
This is something we consider in our purchasing but it is not our only consideration. These are tools, and indicators, not necessarily what we use solely for mating.
Have you spoken to the breeder or visited their place?
I'm old school this way. I want to get to know the people I'm doing business with, see their operation, and their herd. I find everyone has great ideas of how to do things, and people's reputation is of the top things I consider before considering cattle they are selling. If the breeder seems less than honest the cattle may not be honest either.
What do the cattle look like?
Are they tall and narrow framed?
This cow is only 32% as wide as she is tall
Or are they quite wide framed?
This cow is 50% as wide as she is tall
The Black cow is 52 inches tall at the hip, and she is 17 inches wide in her frame.
The British White cow is 52 inches tall, she is 26 inches wide. She has almost 350 more pounds of red meat in her front end alone, than the black cow. The British White cow above is 11 years old in this photo. She has produced 5 breeding bulls, 3 steers, and 1 daughter so far in our herd. The Black cow has produced 2 thick made daughters and 1 steer, she skipped 1 year with no calf.
There are lots and lots of good looking side profile cows out there that are like the black cow above in all breeds and colors. There are a limited number of cows that are over 40% as wide as they are tall, and a rare few that are 50+% as wide as they are tall.
We have been graced to have over 20 cows and heifers that have crossed the 50% threshhold, and over 50 others that are 40 to 49% as wide as they are tall. The balance of the cows in our herd are 36 to 39% range. In Gerald Fry's linear scoring standards, 36% plus is tollerable in cattle. We rarely get a calf that falls below the 36% cut off any more. We simply have bred it out of our herd. We have seen the number of 40+% females growing most rapidly in the past 4 years, and in our 2009 calf crop, I believe only 1 in the first 46 born so far will be below 43%.
Is this a trait you could use in your herd?
As British Whites are noted as a dual purpous breed, it may be tollerable to have cows that lack the width that we are breeding into our herd, as we have pressed for the beef side of the breed, we have attained these results. The above British White cow is one of our foundation cows that we bought as a 5 month old heifer calf 12 years ago. She has not let us down, nor have any of her offspring. We feel that her grand-daughters are of equal calibur in our herd, and they too have now produced grand-daughters that will likely remain in our herd to build on her genetics of beefiness, docility, longevity, easy keeping, good gaining, and all of the marketing traits that make the beef end of the breed top of the line. To compliment these great scores we have DNA profiled this British White cow. Her scores complimented what we already knew. We expect this cow to remain in our herd for several more years, and we expect she'll continue to produce much desired offspring.
Rolling Hills Traeger Ranch British Whites
About British Whites